I was once emptying the Cistern of Nature, and making Water at the Wall. At the same Time, there came a Dog, who did so too, before me. Thought I; "What mean, and vile Things are the Children of Men, in this mortal State! How much do our natural Necessities abase us, and place us in some regard, on the same Level with the very Dogs!"
My Thought proceeded. "Yett I will be a more noble Creature; and at the very Time, when my natural Necessities debase me into the Condition of the Beast, my Spirit shall (I say, at that very Time!) rise and soar, and fly up, towards the Employment of the Angel."
Accordingly, I resolved, that it should be my ordinary Practice, whenever I step to answer the one or other Necessity of Nature, to make it an Opportunity of shaping in my Mind, some holy, noble, divine Thought; usually, by way of occasional Reflection on some sensible Object which I either then have before me, or have lately had so: a Thought that may leave upon my Spirit, some further Tincture of Piety!
And I have done according to this Resolution!
Monday, December 27, 2010
Thoughts While Emptying the Cistern of Nature
Cotton Mather, Diary (July 1700):